HOUSTON – Joel Osteen leads 44,000 people (per their own claims) at Lakewood Church, but when he is in the public spotlight his lukewarm and tepid response to moral issues leave millions scratching their heads about him. The question: is Joel just a figure head pastor? Is someone else writing his sermons and messages? Its sad and tragic that a person with such influence lacks the spiritual authority to speak truth and stand by it without apology.
The super pastor’s recent appearance on a CNN talk show caused people on both sides of the issue of homosexuality to criticize him. Osteen appears to not want to anger anyone, so he attempts to soften the truth after he’s spoken it. But that makes him sound unconvincing on either. Jesus warned against lukewarm positions when it came to the truth.
I know thy works, that thou art neither cold nor hot: I would thou wert cold or hot. So then because thou art lukewarm, and neither cold nor hot, I will spue thee out of my mouth.
And does the rest of the passage describe America’s largest and richest local church?
Because thou sayest, I am rich, and increased with goods, and have need of nothing; and knowest not that thou art wretched, and miserable, and poor, and blind, and naked: I counsel thee to buy of me gold tried in the fire, that thou mayest be rich; and white raiment, that thou mayest be clothed, and that the shame of thy nakedness do not appear; and anoint thine eyes with eyesalve, that thou mayest see. Rev 3:15-18
The Christian Post reported that while homosexual activist leaders derided his words as “dangerous and irresponsible”, Rev. Albert Mohler stopped short of praising him. Clearly, Osteen seemed to only add more confusion to the issue.
LGBT group the Human Rights Campaign called for an immediate apology, arguing that his statement “adds a burden to those already struggling to accept their sexual orientation or gender identity.”
“One would hope Mr. Osteen would use his pulpit, with an audience of over 7 million people, to tell all human beings that they are loved just the way they are,” said HRC President Joe Solmonese. “Instead he chose to send a dangerous and irresponsible message.”
Evangelical leader R. Albert Mohler, Jr., who does not agree with Osteen’s “updated version of prosperity theology,” was glad to hear the renowned pastor – who reaches 10 million television viewers nationwide – affirm the Bible’s teaching. But Mohler stopped short of praising Osteen.
“Thankfully, he did not deny that homosexuality is a sin. We can only have hoped that he would have given a more bold answer, followed by an equal boldness in the power of the Gospel of Jesus Christ,” Mohler, president of The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary in Louisville, Ky., said in a commentary Thursday.
Although he has been “pastoring” some fourteen years now, Osteen seems no closer to principled stands than he was when first questioned about the issue.
Osteen further embarrassed himself, the faith and our God with his waffling on The View. He was asked about false bishop Jim Swilley and whether or not Swilley should be in church leadership if he is homosexual. Conversation transcript:
Barbara Walters: “Recently a pastor of an evangelical church in Georgia named Jim Swilley came out and said that he was gay. He is married, he has children, but he is gay. What’s your feelings about that?“ Osteen: “Well, first off Barbara, I should finish that sentence. I should make it clear. I don’t think it’s God’s best for your life. I don’t NOT think it’s God’s best making us. As far as that pastor is concerned, I don’t know that individual situation. I think that, I believe the Scriptures teach us that a pastor in leadership like that is not going to stay in a Christian church like ours.“ Walters: “Should he get out of the Christian church if he is gay?“ Osteen: “ You know, I think that’s totally up to him.”
GCM Watch has covered his nervous struggle with proclaiming homosexuality as sin and dealing with homosexuals who obviously seek to influence him.
- Speaking at a 2009 rally in New York, Osteen told devotees: “My message is not about doctrine. I don’t have to get 50 references from Scripture in a sermon for it to be a good sermon. I want to be careful not to criticize anybody or be negative. I feel like I don’t need to preach. I just want to talk to the people.” [article]
- Earlier in April of 09, Osteen responded to Larry King’s questions about homosexual marriage: “You know, I don’t know where it’s all going … I’d love to see it stay between a male and a female, not knocking anybody else.” King: Should a gay couple be allowed to adopt? Joel Osteen: “I think that, again, it’s best for a male and a female. I’m not saying that gay people aren’t good people” [article] Benny Hinn even angrily denounced him.
- In May 2008, on Mother’s Day, Soulforce flunkie Jay Baker discovered that if he got into visitors line to shake Joel Osteen’s hand he could make a pitch for a meeting with Osteen. The bad news is that Osteen agreed to a meeting with Baker. In the meeting was Osteen, brother Paul and media spokesman Donald Iloff. [article]